Monday, February 18, 2013

GOOP, Gwyneth, and the French Pharmacy

      First, for those of you who do not know, GOOP is Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle blog. I really love getting emails about her updates, because every topic she discusses has a positive spin to it. She recruits experts in many fields to talk about wellness tips, recipe's, shopping, style, and she also creates travel guides. One of her most popular posts in the past year and a half has been about her favorite things to buy at the French pharmacy. I not only read about the article online (which is how I first discovered GOOP), it was mentioned in Harper's Bazaar, Vogue, and other magazines. Many of the products she mentions are also cited under the list of essentials of many top makeup artists working at fashion week. You can read Gwyneth's post here: The French Pharmacy. Basically, what she says in the article, is that some of the highest quality beauty products she has ever found/used can be bought in regular run of the mill French pharmacies. In a nutshell, the pricey stuff we buy at Saks and Neiman Marcus here in America is probably equal in quality to the products that the French can buy at their equivalent of CVS. That pretty much solves the issue of why the French are so effortlessly beautiful and stylish.
     After my first year of medical school, well before I read this article, I took a trip with my friends to London and Paris. Because I am such a beauty product junkie, I actually loved walking into the French Pharmacies. They all have a luring green cross so they are easy to identify, even if you can't read/speak French. Go inside, and the only way to describe them is what I call a "cosmetic wonderland." Lucky French women. Additionally, they are run very differently than American pharmacies. If people in France are sick, they do not necessarily head straight to a doctor, but often go into a pharmacy, where the pharmacist is trained and licensed to treat minor aches and ailments. The problem for me, at the time, was that there were shelves and shelves of beautiful looking products, and my confused, English-speaking self, had no direction. I had no idea what to buy or where to begin. So I just kept walking in and out of the different stores, hoping that the next would provide me with more guidance. None of them did, because the key to shopping at the pharmacies was to know exactly what you were looking for. I got the distinct feeling that they did not love silly Americans standing and browsing for hours. So, you can imagine my excitement when I read Gwyneth's article, so of course, I had to try out the products she suggested.
      The only problem, was that many of the products she discusses are only sold in France. However, after a lot of research, I was able to find practically every product at a store in Chelsea called New London Pharmacy. Here is the link: New London Pharmacy. The great thing about this store is that you can order whatever you want online and they will ship the products to you if you do not live in NY. Additionally, since Gwyneth's article was published, New York pharmacies like Duane Reade have started carrying some of the brands she talks about like Klorane and Avenè. Lastly, if you are desperate to try some of these brands and really cannot find them, there are many sellers on Amazon and Ebay that carry them. Beware of big price mark-ups. The key here is that these are inexpensive, yet still great quality products. Below are my reviews on some of the products I have tried so far:

1.) Bioderma Crealine H2O- This is makeup remover and it is great. A few swipes and all of that heavy makeup that took you forever to put on is off in about 5 seconds flat. It is light-weight, non-greasy, and the best part is that it does not irritate my eyes as many other brands have in the past.

2.) Embryolisse Lait- Cremè Concentrè- This is a great moisturizer that can be worn under makeup and really works to give a dewy look. It is silky and very moisturizing but without the heaviness that comes with other super moisturizers. It absorbs very quickly. Many people with acne prone skin have said that it does not make them break out like other heavy moisturizers do.

3.) Avibon- This is a vitamin A cream and it is very interesting. All of the incredible retinols that you have been hearing about in magazines that are recommended by virtually every dermatologist are actually a form of vitamin A. It is said that they clear up skin and prevent and treat wrinkles. Most of them are very drying though. I am not sure about Avibon as a wrinkle reducer, but I do know that it made my skin very smooth and definitely helped reduce dark spots. The best part is, that it is actually hydrating, rather than drying like most vitamin A products. It smells like roses, but it is very greasy. If you are going to put it on your face before bed put a towel on your pillow or be prepared to deal with a mess when you wake up.

4.) Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oatmilk- This is one of my favorite products especially after I started washing my hair only every other day. I spray this onto my roots in the morning and wait for about 5 minutes while it soaks up oil from my roots. Then I brush it out and have clean feeling hair with lots of volume. There is no harsh smell or residue left behind. I would highly recommend it.

5.) Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse- This is a great body oil (that can technically also be used in your hair) that I put on after a shower. It is really moisturizing and has a really great smell. It sinks into your skin easily, so you don't spend all day or night feeling greasy after you put your clothes on.

Gwyneth was right (obviously) and I would highly recommend all of the products I have tried so far.

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